General Question

syz's avatar

What's with the state initials drop-down?

Asked by syz (35647points) February 7th, 2008

Why do all of the forms (memberships, payment info, ordering) have a drop down for initials? Do they really think we don’t know how to indicate the state that we live in? We’re capable of completing the rest of the form! Does this bug anyone else?

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6 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

The state variable is the only one that has relativity few possible answers. The list of zip codes is around 43000. Having the states in a list is better than validating the data and dealing with misspellings. And trust me, people will manage to screw up everything. Why not avoid it if you can?

And it only takes a few seconds to get through a list of 50.

gailcalled's avatar

I have trouble w. Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa, Idaho, Nevada, Nebraska, but not my own state. An interesting question.

soundedfury's avatar

It’s just to control for errors.

If you click the dropdown and start typing your state initials, it should jump down to them. This works for both initials – typing V A will choose Virginia while V T will chose Vermont.

artemisdivine's avatar

i can tell you if i was lucky enough to LIVE in the USA i would be JUMPING for joy everytime i got one of those drop down lists! i would say THANK YOU LORD for letting me live in the best country on earth. it may be a country with sizeable problems but i am truly envious of all those who live there.

being that i am in administration, and have seen forms filled out in Canada, people honestly have no clue at times. they can mess up all kinds of stuff. normally i truly appreciate drop downs. but then i am kinda nerd like he he.

boffin's avatar

Wow…@artemisdivine has given me a new appreciation of those drop-downs….

Perchik's avatar

I’ve seen the same kind of thing. We had a country text box on one of our forms. People would put in so many different things. I saw “USA” “America” “The united states of america”, “the usa”. Then there were also wrong answers where people put the county name “richland” “cabarras” etc.

I assume that if you had a state text box, (instead of a drop down), people would put similar things, like “Vermont”, “vermont”, “vt”, “VT”, “Verm.”, etc.

Depending on the database used (whether it’s case sensitive or not) those could be 5 different results. The problem with that is if you want to search the database by state you can’t do it easily. (To search for vermont you’d have to search for “VT” and “vt” and “vermont” and “Vermont” and “Verm”...)

Dropdown lists can help standardize all of the results in the database. That way you can search for “VT” and return all of the Vermont users, instead of only the ones that typed in “VT”

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